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Tiger, Tiger: A Memoir

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  2,580 ratings  ·  517 reviews

One summer day, Margaux Fragoso meets Peter Curran at the neighborhood swimming pool, and they begin to play. She is seven; he is fifty-one. When Peter invites her and her mother to his house, the little girl finds a child’s paradise of exotic pets and an elaborate backyard garden. Her mother, beset by mental illness and overwhelmed by caring for Margaux, is grateful for

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Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published January 1st 2011)
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American Psycho by Bret Easton EllisLord of the Flies by William GoldingA Child Called "It" by Dave Pelzer1984 by George OrwellA Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
The Most Disturbing Book Ever Written
245th out of 1,378 books — 5,157 voters
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You Can't Make This ?#$*t Up!
14th out of 72 books — 98 voters


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Community Reviews

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Matilda
This was a tough read. Both because of the subject matter and because of the writing style. Initially, in the first part of the book, I found her writing to be difficult to believe and, therefore, difficult to get into. I am one of those people who has problems with the current trend in memoirs to be told in pages of elegant dialogue and lengthy descriptions of settings that cannot possibly be remembered. I was prepared for this by a well-written review I read on NPR, however, so I stuck with it...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
The author Margaux Fragoso, single, 7 years old meets Peter Curran in a neighborhood swimming pool the summer of 1985. Peter, 51 years old, is married to a woman with two young boys by her previous marriage. He and Margaux fall in love with each other.

Peter makes sure that Margaux understands that society disapproves of their love because of its hypocrisy. The two then agree to keep their special a secret and develope some private codes and signals by which they can communicate as lovers without...more
Jeni
I began reading this book on the subway home one evening; continued reading and finished it late that same night, basically in one sitting. This is one of the most compelling and harrowing memoirs I have encountered. I had to keep reading, turning the pages. It was difficult, stomach-churning to read, but it felt so urgent and imperative to do so. This story needs to exist.

This is a revised Lolita story, told from the point of the view of the victim: it explains how an 8 year girl with a trouble...more
Topher Hooperton
I'm a terrible book reviewer: not only is this copy atrociously late, but I'd also got the impression that the story in Tiger, Tiger, a memoir by Margaux Fragoso, somehow pertained to tigers. It doesn't.

A quick scan down the back cover revealed it's true content:

"I still think about Peter, the man I loved most in the world, all the time ... We were friends, soul mates and lovers. I was seven. He was fifty-one. They were the happiest days of my life."

It's fair to say that I was daunted by the sub...more
Kate Woods Walker
A grand jury report is inadvertently released in Pennsylvania, America reads the phrase "rhythmic slapping sounds" and is forced to visualize the actual rape of a child, and in the Sandusky/Penn State scandal, public consciousness changes. "Molestation" sounds so much better than "anal rape," after all. Easier to take, easier to imagine as something lesser.

A great author, who confesses upfront that he wants to have sex with little girls, writes the ultimate pedophile fantasy and calls it Lolita....more
Kelda
This book was difficult to read, but so very well written. A woman's memoir of her 14 year "relationship" with a pedophile. Left feeling squirmy but also with wonder at the strength of her spirit and persevering intellect. She has created something astonishing.
Jen at Reading Lark
This is a very difficult book to give a star rating to. On the one hand, it was absolutely compelling and I read it in a single sitting. On the other hand, the subject matter is frankly disturbing and I would feel wrong about giving it five stars. So I'm going to leave this one star-less.

This is a memoir (the first memoir I have ever finished) which details a woman's memories of growing up in the thrall of a pedophile. A friend's husband recommended this to me, as it was required reading on his...more
Rebecca Foster
To call this book a memoir of childhood sexual abuse is to reduce it to something far too simplistic. Fragoso’s fifteen-year relationship with Peter Curran, who was 44 years her senior, was full of whirling instability, ranging from violence to tenderness and from innocence to perversion. Fragoso could have used this book as a final act of revenge on her abuser, but instead has created an unbiased and sympathetic picture of a man who was both victim and victimizer. Curran suffered childhood sexu...more
Betty
I rated this five stars because I think it's an important book and because I liked the way Fragoso was able to evoke the mood of her life in the way that she did. I can't say that I enjoyed reading it and I would hesitate to recommend it because it is incredibly graphic and extremely disturbing. I have read other reviews where people denounce her for writing it the way that she did. One reviewer said something to the effect of "Her target audience is pedophiles" as though she put in the details...more
Tara Lynn
This was a large, over-reaching waste of time.

Typically, these types of personal stories are intended to give an audience a sense of the maturity, empathy, personal growth, life struggle, and eventual peace that are eventually reached by a sexual abuse survivor. The intense struggle typically gives the reader a greater appreciation of their own life, struggles, and mental/emotional process.

This was the first time I've actively been annoyed by any narrative concerning child abuse. I would highl...more
Deborah Feldman
It's difficult to criticize a memoir like this. A part of you just wants to pat the author on the back for undertaking such a difficult task. People with stories like these need to tell them, if only to help others understand, or feel understood. But somewhere in the middle of this memoir I started to get disgusted, because I could no longer swallow the "stockholm syndrome" excuse I was being sold. This memoir is certainly about a fucked up relationship, but doesn't easily fit into the category...more
Bonnie Brody
This is one of the most visceral and heartfelt books I have ever read. It is a brave and painful book, difficult to read but beautifully wrought. From the time she was eight years old, Maugaux Fragoso was sexually abused by a man named Peter who is 51 years old when he meets her. The abuse lasts for years and years. Peter grooms Margaux, enchanting her with his home that is filled with animals like hamsters, iguanas, a dog and rabbits. He plays with her as if he was a child. He charms her, acts...more
Sam
The back of this memoir states that it is a book about a relationship between a fifty-one year old man and a seven year old girl. And it's controversial because it is about just that, a relationship. A socially unacceptable, manipulative, controlling relationship, but a relationship nonetheless and Fragoso writes about it honestly, resisting the temptation to paint herself sympathetically to appeal to readers.

Margaux is seven when she meets Peter at a swimming pool - she sees him playing a game...more
Dana
Have you ever felt manipulated? Well, reading this book will make you remember that. All of that. Even if you weren't relentlessly preyed on by a hapless, weirdly charming pedophile for 12 or however many years Fragoso was, you finish reading her memoir feeling just as bad (guilty? gullible? lost? misunderstood? I'm not sure.) as if you had been. And the way she represents, so accurately, the anguish of a girlhood made neurotic by a secret life -- ugh, it's brilliant. But I never want to read it...more
Michelle
Beautifully written, but very, very sad. Though it is disturbing, it is valuable in that people can see how such abuse comes about and how children are drawn into dangerous relationships. Though it's about child abuse, predators of all types manipulate and brainwash their victims and this book gives a glimpse into this strange psychological phenomenon.
Elizabeth
Status updates below. Review to follow soon.

Likely THE review of this book has already been written by a friend here on goodreads:
Read. This. Book.

Page 270 of 336
There is no horror story that can come close to reeking of hell that permeates every everything here. The disintegration of a child and a child woman who morphs in and out of other-imposed and self-imposed desecration, denigration, demonization, and dominatrix-ation of herself and at times others. The words alternately scream at me and...more
C.E. Trueman
I couldn't put this book down. Margaux chronicles the true story of her secret 14-year relationship with a paedophile old enough to be her grandfather using the most poetic, poignant and honest prose I have ever read, and giving the reader a harrowing and yet human insight into the mind of both a paedophile and his innocent victim. It reads like a beautifully written novel and yet sadly it is only too real.
Emotionally and physically abused by her overworked alcoholic father and neglected by her...more
Judith
This is a memoir by a woman who was sexually molested and raped by an older man who was a "friend of the family". At the tender age of 8, the author met Peter ( the pedophile) who was 51. For the next 14 years, until he committed suicide at the age of 66, they were together on an almost daily basis, and for most of that time, he was sexually molesting her. You may think you've heard/read enough about child abuse by now. But this book has a unique perspective.

The author has an incredible eye for...more
Eurik
A depressing read. Not easy to digest. The supposedly main storyline of the girls (author's) relationship with a paedophile is somewhat scattered and fogged over her generally difficult childhood (crazy mother, distant, abusive father).

---spoilers---

I was kind of disappointed that the book remained inconclusive. She narrates their shared history as a story of abuse and pseudo-consensual intimacy, however her need to return to her abuser - and doing so willingly - is clear all the way through. It...more
Suzanne
What can I say about "Tiger, Tiger"? After I finished, it left me with many mixed emotions, repulsion, empathy and confusion. I found some of the passages erotically charged and then wondered why I felt this way. Margaux Fragoso goes into great detail about the sexual and psychological abuse at the hands of Peter and yet I felt sympathy for him as well as her. It was very hard to put down, I read it in one night.
T. Greenwood
3 1/2 stars. I remember as a kid loving the dusty old biographies and memoirs that filled the shelves at our summer cabin in Vermont. There was something so thrilling about the photo inserts: the portraits and snapshots and letters reproduced to supplement to the reading experience. This is something I have been lamenting since I started reading so many books on my Kindle. Tiger, Tiger seems like the kind of book that would beg for such supplements (photos of Fragoso as a child, black and white...more
Karen
This is a memoir written by a woman who continued a relationship from the age of 8 with a pedophile until he died by suicide when she was in her 20's. I read this book because the reviews of it were so intriguing. No doubt this book is graphic and disturbing. Horribly so. But what I appreciated about this book were the fascinating the complex family dynamics that explain in someways why the young girl is vulnerable to the affections of an older man and the courage the author displays in admittin...more
Julie
This is such a hard book to describe or review. I literally felt sick to my stomach the entire book and every time I got done reading a bit I just felt so depressed. You wonder to yourself why I kept reading it? Well, I wanted to see how it finally ended. I wanted to read how she moved on from that experience, and eventually had a daughter of her own. THAT really didn't happen...it was over and he was gone and that was that. What a horrible thing for Margaux to go through. I felt so badly for he...more
Beth
For its content and purpose I found this book fairly average. Both of the main figures, Margaux (the author) and Peter, were fairly unlikable. Margaux Fragoso doesn't spend much time building up her persona, so she comes off as a generic child in the first part of the book, only her relationship with Peter making her of any interest. In the later sections, she appears stupid for staying with her abuser when she is mature enough to process what has happened to her. Considering that she is willing...more
Ashleyruth23
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paula Gallagher
Fragoso lays herself bare in this raw, unsettling memoir of childhood corrupted. Raised in poverty by a hardworking but often unavailable father and a mother who's mentally unbalanced, young Margaux revels in the attention of 51 year-old Peter, a magical adult who seems to focus on her alone. His house is a wonderland of animals, and he has time to play imaginative games like "Danger Tiger." He zeroes in on what she enjoys, and lavishes praise. He never scolds her or makes her feel self-consciou...more
Liz
Hmmm.....where to start? Let me just say that it was a very hard book to get through, very disturbing, to the point that I was almost unable to read it. I like the writing style of the author Margaux Fragoso, but the subject matter and the events were at times harsh, no matter how poetically expressed. I think that pedophilia does need to be discussed, and awareness raised, as the author states in her afterword, but it is still a sensitive topic. Like she pointed out, there is the misconception...more
Danielle Larca
"Love is what you call a phantom pain. The poets write of it, our great art represents it, it inspires our musicians, but it does not really exist." He took a long drag from his cigarette. "Like an ulcer you think you have but the surgeon opens you up and finds nothing there. It is a chemical reaction, Keesy. Hormones. People die for it, but no one has ever proven it exists." (p. 130-131)

The summer she was seven, Margaux Fragoso met 51-year-old Peter Curran at the local swimming pool. Margaux is...more
Sofia
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Crystal
At first, I really liked it, then it just got weird. Ok, so according to the author, its a true story. It very may well be HOWEVER, I do not feel its necessary into go into the amount of detail she did about her childhood sex abuse. There are ways to get the point across without doing what she did. Im speaking primarily about the conversations she had with her abuser and the play rolling conversation they had. Completely unneccesary and really gross. I realize, that child sex abuse is gross, and...more
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Margaux Fragoso is the author of Tiger, Tiger. She has recently completed a PhD in English and creative writing at Binghamton University. Her short stories and poems have appeared in The Literary Review and Barrow Street, among other literary journals.

http://us.macmillan.com/author/margau...
More about Margaux Fragoso...

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“I also read that spending time with a pedophile can be like a drug high. There was this girl who said it’s as if the pedophile lives in a fantastic kind of reality, and that fantasticness infects everything. Kind of like they’re children themselves, only full of the knowledge that children don’t have. Their imaginations are stronger than kids’ and they can build realities that small kids would never be able to dream up. They can make the child’s world… ecstatic somehow. And when it’s over, for people who’ve been through this, it’s like coming off of heroin and, for years, they can’t stop chasing the ghost of how it felt. One girl said that it’s like the earth is scorched and the grass won’t grow back. And the ground looks black and barren but inside it’s still burning.” 4 likes
“I was twelve and love burned in me like sap. Peter got down on his knees as though I was his goddess, as though I really was the only sound he could hear and I filled his head with miraculous ringing, as though I made him permanent, and for this he would always be grateful.” 3 likes
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